As I mentioned in my last post, we just got back Saturday from our vacation – a week living aboard a Scuba Diving boat in the central Caribbean – St. Kitt’s and Saba. This was our third time living on a dive boat and there are so many things I love about this kind of trip.
First of all, a Live-aboard is a total immersion (pun intended) into the experience of Scuba. As our captain Tim said, all you do is eat, dive, eat, dive, eat, dive, eat, dive, eat… and if you so choose, dive again – at night. Also with all the diving, you’re burning calories like mad, so eating is not so guilt ridden.
And it’s so easy! You set up your gear once, and after that, the crew fills your tank at your station. So every dive involves rinsing your mask, putting on a wet suit, strapping on the gear and jumping in. Then you do the dive, come back to the boat, put your gear back in your station, rinse your wetsuit, take a warm shower and you’re ready to go again. It’s like the ultimate being/doing/being experience.
For me, Scuba diving creates a deep connection to our planet like no other. To be below the surface of the ocean, in a totally foreign environment with an explosion of primitive life all around – and I do mean all around – 360 degrees around – reminds me of the powerful creative potential of the Divine. On our fifth day at sea, I spent time scanning the fish and invertebrate identification books onboard. The thousands of species found in those pages, many of which I saw and some of which I photographed while diving this past week instills a sense of awe for me.
I have often said that I’m just a visitor in those depths, but after this trip, I changed my mind. Yes, I have to get on a boat, strap a tank on my back and breathe through a hose to go to these places, but as you can see from these photos, many of the creatures there let me get very close to them. Here are a couple of spotted file fish, and they were as curious about me as I was about them. I love their energy and curiosity – they somehow knew I wasn’t going to hurt them.
When I dive, I’m very conscious of the fragility of the reef environment. I’m careful to not touch anything and I watch where I place my fins. And the primitive nature of the reef where I’m told life originated and also where life continues to express, is a reminder of my connection to all – coral polyps, sea slugs, jellyfish, lobsters, fish, dolphins – coexist in a place where few get to visit.
Now I’m back on dry land, but I’ll carry that energy with me. And share it with you. Here are a few more pictures. And, by the way, all of the photos I have posted so far are unretouched. I love my new camera and I’ll be talking more about that with more pics next time! Next post: Zen and the Art of Underwater Photography.
©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012